November 15, 2008

New Art: Restless II by Catherine King

Restless II. 60" x 40" collage. © 2008 Catherine King

by Jerome du Bois

Restless II is a tribute to Homo Faber, the maker, the shaper, the reacher, the mover, the builder of visions. Where would we humans be without our hands? Our brains could work overtime conceiving all manner of things, but we wouldn't be able to make a single one of them real without our ability to reach out and manipulate the world around us.

Once again using her own two hands, and scissors and glue, Catherine King takes hold of images from high-end fashion magazines and lifts them out of context to highlight their true significance. These hands are not mere pointers, or displays for nail polish and jewelry; hands make the nail polish and jewelry, and the letterforms, and the machines that make the camera and the paper and the magazines. Hundreds of hands reach out from the four corners in overlapping waves of gestures, converging on a central pair. This central pair of hands holds a curious pose, a complementary mirroring, one supporting, one protecting, evoking infinite potential in the empty space between them. With our two hands we can make anything.

We are restless; we can't leave the world the way it is, incomplete, inhospitable, and without purpose. We reach out and bring it closer, within our grasp, and from between our hands emerge a multitude of shapes and devices, tools and reasons, and ideas made real, beautiful and true.

More important than these general observations, though, Restless II is autobiography --and manifest anxiety. Catherine is restless; she is one of those people incapable of idleness. But she couldn't abide a mindless activity like knitting, just to keep her busy hands occupied. Her mind, her emotions, and the crucible of her life, direct her hands toward more important ends. Do I have enough time, she asks herself, to say what I need to say, to show what I need to show? Time is running through my fingers, flowing only one way. There is so much to do, and only so much time. While I'm here I will not waste it, but make the most of how much is left to me.

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